My Ocean is Blue
My Ocean is Blue
My ocean is big. My ocean is small.
My ocean is shallow. My ocean is deep.
My ocean is slimy and sandy and sparkly and dull.
As I grew up in Saskatchewan, I did not see an ocean until I was about 15-years-old. But for some children, living near an ever-changing sea is a natural part of daily life. My Ocean is Blue describes what that life is like for one young girl.
My Ocean is Blue is not just about the water, itself, but about all that surrounds it. The many variations in the sky and waves, a smelly fish and an interesting-looking chunk of driftwood on the shore, the colours of things in and around the ocean, all create a fascinating world for the little girl pictured here.
There are the noisy moments:
My ocean splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks.
My ocean laughs and hums.
Boats buzz by, gulls soar overhead.
And there are times for reflection, too, such as when the life in a tide pool is being quietly observed, or the wet sand beckons as a canvas for a work of art.
Cut paper, watercolour, acrylic and pencil are all used in the creation of the book’s scenes. Many of the images are set out on a white ground, but there are also spreads where variegated colours wash over the page, allowing readers to experience all the moods of the ocean. From the arresting close-up on the cover showing the girl looking out onto the ocean with binoculars to the beautiful sunset panorama that marks the end the day, the artist has managed to combine a bright palette with an often delicate hand. Torontonian Ashley Barron has drawn on her own experience living on Lake Ontario, the body of water which she considers to be her ‘ocean’.
The writer underscores the changing but eternal nature of the ocean by leaving readers with the lines:
My ocean is always different…
I wonder what my ocean will be tomorrow.
Not a story but an experience, with a spare text and much to look at in the illustrations, My Ocean is Blue is a companion to Lebeuf’s My Forest is Green.
A good, if not essential, addition to the picture book shelf.
Ellen Heaney, a retired children’s librarian, lives in Coquitlam, British Columbia.